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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Catholics Push Hyundai To Cancel Commercial

June 14, 2010 - 3:48 PM | by: Greg Burke

A 30-second television commercial that ran in the United States during the England-USA soccer match on Saturday has Catholic bloggers charging that the advertisement is blasphemous and mocks the core teachings of the church.

The ad begins with singing in Latin, and depicts an Argentine “church” – complete with a stained-glass window of a soccer ball — in which the wildly popular sport is clearly what’s being worshiped.

Critics complain that Hyundai mocks the Eucharist, which Catholics believe to be the body of Christ, by showing “worshipers” on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather than the communion host.

“This ad is an outrageous affront to Catholics and a mockery of our most sacred beliefs and practices,” said Fr. Marcel Taillon, a parish priest in Narrangansett, Rhode Island.

At one point the commercial shows a soccer ball covered with a crown of thorns, part of Jesus Christ’s passion.

Hyundai, a World Cup sponsor, apparently wanted to show how far some fans will go to support their cause.

“Fans show their loyalty in all kinds of ways; ours just buy another Hyundai,” the narrator says at the close of the ad.

On Monday, Hyundai said the commercial, called “Wedding,” which had run during some of the opening games of the World Cup, had generated a number of complaints, and been stopped.

“The unexpected response created by the ad… prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot,” the company said in a statement. “Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive.”

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